Wearables Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Happiness in a Ring

A new company, Happy Health, is launching a smart ring with a slightly different perspective on the category. The Happy Ring features an EDA sensor which tracks perspiration on the skin This can be linked to stress responses and more: it’s the same type of sensor as used in Fitbit’s Sense and Charge 5, but the key difference is that the Ring will provide continuous EDA sensing. The ring has no official launch date yet, but the company has just raised $60 million of Series A funding. Interestingly, the company’s founder is Sean Rad, who founded Tinder. That does help one’s mind wander as to other possible use cases for the smart ring over time with possible product cross-over opportunities (matching people in proximity with similar mindfulness habits perhaps?).

The NPD Take:

  • The purpose of the ring appears to be mental health, rather than fitness. That’s not unique, of course, as it is an area Fitbit has been focused on too. But it is certainly a big opportunity that is far more unique than simply another fitness tracker of sorts.
  • As with any wearable, the trick is less the amount of data that can be tracked, but far more what you can do with that data, and how easy it is to drive changes in behavior. As such, we expect to see a service that includes not just data analysis but also mindfulness activities to help change that behavior over time.
  • The ring is expected to follow the Whoop pricing concept: the ring will be free, but with a monthly contract to actually see the data you are accumulating.

Fitbit redux

Fitbit has overhauled its wearables line up, announcing a new Fitbit Versa 4 (smartwatch), an upgraded Sense 2 (health watch) and an updated version of its Inspire 3 fitness tracker. The Versa and Sense both offer continuous heart rate and more than six days of battery life. But more interesting is the creeping integration with Google: both will soon offer Google Maps integrations, allowing you to see turn by turn directions on your watch, as well as access to Google Wallet. All three devices can be ordered now, with shipments expected to begin in the Fall.

The NPD Take:

  • The Google/Fitbit wearable range is slowly merging in terms of functionality. That is key: with the Pixel Watch hitting the market in the fall, the company is effectively beginning to compete against itself and needs a far better integration of Google assets into all wearables.
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